So, I quit my job. We were able to swing it by paying off the car early ($237.61/month saved), and postponing our student loan payments (a little more than $500/month saved).
Side note: our student loan payments are the bane of our financial existence. They really eat up a huge chunk of our income. Advice: do not take out lots of student loans to pay for an education that will not allow you to make a decent living, like, as a singer, for example.
Ironically, I will be going back to school for 15 months, and will definitely have to pony up to the student loan counter. However, my new chosen field (I will earn a B.S. in Clinical Laboratory Science) has an average starting salary of $47,000. That really seems like a TON of money to me.
I digress. Here WAS our actual monthly family budget (post-job):
INCOME: 2400.00 (Tony's take-home pay)
EXPENSES: 2408.87 (Hey! Not too bad!)
With the increase in food and gas prices, here is our current budget:
EXPENSES: 2717.87 (Yikes!)
Umm, wow. We're working on the food bill (truly, we're not extravagant shoppers: no soda, no snacks, no ice cream), but the car expenses have to stay. Tony HAS to drive to work and FOR work (he sometimes has to drive over 100 miles in a day). He does get reimbursed for mileage, but his non-profit reduced the rate about 6 months ago, and, of course, gas prices have climbed steadily ever since. I drive VERY little...not much to cut there.
These are the expenses that we could possibly cut (along with comments about our willingness to cut said item):
- Contribution to Hal's 529: $75 (no)
- life insurance: $65.39 (scary!)
- internet service: $63.15 (umm, no way)
- clothing: $20 (yes, that's really our clothing budget)
- haircuts (Hal and Lauren): $20 (this one often goes to food instead)
- Medical $50 (with Tony's HSA, we usually don't have to spend this...hooray!)
- Entertainment (WOW and Netflix) $21.33 (I'm tempted to get rid of Netflix, but I'm not sure my husband could part with World of Warcraft)
- Tony's lunch money: $40 (We often tap into this, as well)
- Gifts: $40 (this is for birthday gifts for our immediate families and ourselves...maybe we will reduce the amount...sorry fam!)
- Met Opera tickets: $28 (this will go up next year to $39...hmm
The bad: I'll be taking some night classes this summer and this fall (we have the money saved), and the thought of working on my off nights is kind of a HUGE drag. Also, we aren't making progress on our student loans. I probably just need to stop being a baby, suck it up, and get a job. There are certainly people in more difficult situations than we are.
What financial struggles have you faced, and what did you do to try to overcome them?